Flood relief in Davison County got a financial jolt Wednesday afternoon.
Two Mitchell businesses — AKG and Two Dreams Boutique — each donated $5,000 to the Salvation Army toward Davison County flood relief efforts. That $10,000 will primarily go toward residents whose homes were impacted by flood damage and are still in need of a furnace or hot water heater.
“Unfortunately, we know there’s residents out there who do not have a furnace or a hot water heater in their house,” Davison County Emergency Management Administrator Jeff Bathke said. “And as you can see, it’s cold outside. I can’t imagine waking up without a furnace on a day like this.”
Bill and Debbi Middendorp, who are auxiliary captains for the Salvation Army in Mitchell, said there are still at least 10 homes in the community that need heating equipment installed.
Other businesses have offered their services to assist flood victims, the Salvation Army said. Paulson Air Heating and Cooling is doing free inspections of heating equipment for flood-affected homes, and offering some discounts on installations and equipment.
“That is our top priority, making sure they have heat, because you don’t want pipes freezing or any of that,” Bill Middendorp said. “We’ve worked really well together to this point and we know there’s still needs there.”
Flood victims in need are being prioritized based on the information that Davison County officials collected regarding the extent of damage and individuals affected in the weeks after the flood. About 350 Davison County residents reported damage to their homes and property, and Bathke said again Wednesday he anticipated that number to be higher.
The announcements regarding donations come at a critical time in the year, when temperatures are continuing to decrease and the need for heat to live is painfully clear. The overnight low Wednesday into Thursday was expected to dip to 12 degrees in Mitchell, the coldest low temperature of the fall season to date.
In the instance of AKG — which manufactures heating and cooling systems for diesel equipment and has more than 200 employees located at its Mitchell plant along Interstate 90 — assisting its fellow community members was a no-brainer, said plant manager Brian Hunt. The same was the case at Two Dreams Boutique, which sells fashionable women's clothing at its north Mitchell store.
“This is a strong piece of the community, and it just was an obvious place for us to help out,” Hunt said.
Debbi Middendorp said some victims of the flood might have made repairs to their home, but could need help with heating or utility assistance, which is where the Salvation Army can help.
“We know there could be a lot of places where we can provide some help for people trying to get through what has been a tough time,” she said.
Bathke said his office has worked closely with Salvation Army to help line up flood victims with services they might need because they are experienced with case management.
If federal disaster assistance is approved, any resident with flood damage — regardless of whether they contacted Davison County Emergency Management previously — will be able to meet with FEMA officials if and when they come to Davison County.
For more information on Salvation Army assistance or how to help flood victims, the Mitchell office can be reached at 605-996-3964.